Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Ice Sculpture

It is starting to feel like a major expedition to get to the workshop now - the snow is well over the top of my wellies!  But remains a visual delight, with rows of icicles jaggedly trimming  gutters and roof, glistening and dripping.  Some snapped off as I opened the workshop door,  tinkling shards shattering.

I wrote my name and drew in the snow with them, which excited the interest of my geese, who came to see what was going on.

And joined in the antics.  They seemed to think they were better to eat than draw with!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Best way to work

Luckily I don't have far to go, and this is how it looked on the way to the workshop. 

And I had to dig my way in when I got there.  Once in, I felt safe and warm (all the digging), and the snow covering gave a quietness, a silence which is like no other, and which enfolds and concentrates thoughts.  Just perfect for detailed carving, and I had a good day chiselling eyes and folds of skin, cocooned by the soft downfall.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Out in all Weathers

It's a good job stone doesn't mind the weather - it just stands there proud against the biting wind, sleet and rain, and even shelters me as I carve.  Sometimes it is good to see a sculpture wet, especially when finishing off - it shows up all the bits that need attention, and the good lines look sleek and fluid and the liveliness is exciting.  Anyway, all the wet and cold was worth it when the sun came out and turned the stone to gold.

Friday, 19 November 2010

From Basho and the Fox

Summer moon over
Mountains is white as the tip
Of a fox's tail.
(read story)

Scraperboarding could become addictive.  At the moment I am enjoying using it as a drawing medium, but I want to get the feeling of etching and woodcut and to work the surface in an engraving way and get the lighting and contrast right.  I've been looking at Charles Tunnicliffe's work - very inspiring and also Agnes Miller-Parker's wood engravings which I can't take my eyes away from.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


After noticing their nest earlier in the year, I haven't seen much of the Tree-creepers - but over the last few days they have been scampering around the trunk of a tree outside the workshop and flitting back and forth with a group of Blue and Long Tailed Tits.  It reminded me that I had done sketches previously, and combined with these sightings, thought I might have enough for a drawing. 

Rather than pencil this time, I have attempted a scraperboard (it is a sort of carving!), although I have been a bit heavy-handed in places.

This bird has such a determined expression and sort of primitive look, I think, with hooked beak and long, long curved claws - so the aim in the next board is hopefully  to bring these characteristics into sharper focus.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Fox Fires

I love the crackling inferno, heat of the blaze, bonfire toffee, sparklers and shared glee at the bangs of fireworks - so it might not seem obvious to show you a fox, though they are fire-coloured.

Fox - carved in sandstone

And, in Finland the aurora borealis is known as 'revontulet' - meaning fox-fires.  It was believed that the lights were produced by a fox painting the sky with its tail as it ran through the night.

This one is asleep though, perhaps dreaming of flames and light tricks.

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